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  • New APTA Policy Priorities Leverage the Power of Physical Therapy

    The vision is plugged in. Now it's time to turn on the power.

    APTA's public policy priorities for the next 2 years will bring new energy to some longstanding advocacy efforts, new focus on issues that are crucial to the profession, and new approaches to influencing decision-makers, all designed to advance the association's vision of "transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience."

    The association will focus on 4 major objectives: the positioning of physical therapists (PTs) as integral to collaborative care; the ongoing support of integrity in practice through reduction of fraud, abuse, and waste, and creation of strong state regulatory frameworks; the promotion of the value of physical therapy through support for research, outcome measures, and effective payment models; and the continued effort to increase patient access to care from a PT.

    Within those objectives, APTA has identified "policy strategies"—goals it hopes to reach at the federal and state levels. The long list of strategies ranges from support for policies positioning PTs as key members of chronic care management teams to advocacy for rehabilitation research, and from the removal of restrictions in state and federal direct access policies to the promotion of PTs as an entry point to care. The priorities can be accessed through the APTA Federal Advocacy webpage.

    "It's always energizing to share the association's policy priorities every 2 years," said Justin Moore, PT, DPT, APTA executive vice president of public affairs. "This year, it's even more exciting because of the ways they tie in to APTA's vision of transformation. There's a lot of energy in the profession around this vision, and we can draw from that energy to make some real-world changes that will help the profession and the public."

    The association establishes new policy priorities every 2 years, to coincide with each new session of Congress. Priorities were determined through member input and review from the association's Public Policy and Advocacy Committee (PPAC). The priorities were considered and approved by the APTA Board of Directors during its November 2014 meeting.

    "The new priorities are really an ideal mix that play well to our strengths as an association," Moore said. "Our work on these priorities will support our ongoing initiatives around quality of care, integrity of the profession, innovative models of practice, access to care, and payment reform."

    The priorities aren't just about influencing policy on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies. Many of the strategies target changes at the state level, including reducing barriers to direct access, strengthening state term and title protection, modernizing practice acts, and improving appropriate coverage of physical therapy in state Medicaid plans.

    Justin Elliott, APTA director of state government affairs, sees the priorities as a natural extension of ongoing work with state chapters and legislatures.

    "The physical therapy profession enjoyed some hard-fought success last year when we reached the milestone of some form of direct access in all 50 states, DC, and the US Virgin Islands, but it's important to remember that for some states, more work needs to be done to eliminate unwarranted provisions tied to direct access laws," Elliott said. "We'll be working on that and several other issues that can make a difference in the profession's ability to better serve the public."

    APTA members can get more involved with the association's policy work through the APTA Legislative Action Center, and by joining PTeam, the association's email group that provides regular updates on legislative and regulatory issues affecting PTs. Also available: a free "APTA Action App" for mobile devices that includes an action center, congressional directory, talking points, and more.


    • I was wondering how can I become physical therapist assistant? I received my bachelors in kinesiology minor in education in 2006. I love helping others, I have worked in a special unit for 5 years I know how to transfer, CPR, and administer medicine through a feeding tube what could be my next step

      Posted by vince Hernandez on 1/22/2015 8:06 PM

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